WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — Local lawmakers are pushing for an investigation into the website OnlyFans.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, members of Congress, including Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, requested an investigation into the claimed facilitation of the sale of Child Sex Abuse Material by the website OnlyFans, as well as an investigation into solicitation of sexual activity with minors.
Specifically in the letter, members of Congress highlighted the recent increase in child exploitation on OnlyFans. Congressmembers requested that the Department of Justice investigate all content sold on the platform, as well as the framework OnlyFans uses to report sales of child exploitation.
Additionally, the letter detailed how the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has seen an increase of Child Sex Abuse Material on OnlyFans in the past two years, with at least 80 cases identified by the Center in 2021. The letter went on to add that OnlyFans was named one of the top contributors to online sexual exploitation in the United States by the National Center on Sexual Exploitations.
Lawmakers urged for the Department of Justice to lead an investigation into OnlyFans and focus on the prevalence of Child Sex Abuse Material on the website, and what measures it has to prevent, reduce and respond to this content; the prevalence of missing or abducted children linked to content on OnlyFans; and the use of direct messaging on OnlyFans to solicit prostitution.
In response, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik further advocated for the prevention of child abuse.
“I will not back down from ensuring our children are protected from bad actors exploiting the internet,” Stefanik said in a press release. “Our nation’s children deserve better protection online, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them into greater isolation. I am calling on the DOJ to put an end to this exploitation, so America’s children can have a safer, better future.”
The full letter sent by 100 members of Congress can be read below:
Attorney General Garland,
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing our kids to spend more time isolated and online, it is our responsibility to ensure children are protected from bad actors operating via the internet. Of particular concern is the website OnlyFans, which has become a major marketplace for buying and selling Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) in the United States, as well as soliciting sexual activity with minors. We write today to call your attention to potentially illegal activity, including child sexual exploitation, that this website is facilitating. We request the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the content sold on OnlyFans, as well as the policies, or lack thereof, that OnlyFans employs to report instances of CSAM or child exploitation on their platform.
The presence of CSAM on OnlyFans is undeniable. Over the past two years, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has seen a continuously increasing amount of CSAM and child exploitation on OnlyFans. In 2019, NCMEC indicated it was aware of 10 cases involving missing children associated with content sold on OnlyFans. In 2021, NCMEC has identified at least 80 cases in which missing children were linked with OnlyFans content. Moreover, in 2021, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) named OnlyFans one of the top contributors to online sexual exploitation in the United States.
It appears OnlyFans does not have adequate mechanisms in place to notify the proper authorities when CSAM is found on the website. Earlier this year, law enforcement in Florida’s Miami-Dade County arrested two adults for human trafficking, possession of a sexual performance by a child, and promoting the sexual performance by a child. According to law enforcement officials, these arrests were only made possible when a friend of the underage girl saw videos of the victim being exploited on OnlyFans and notified the authorities. With more than 220 million monthly visitors on OnlyFans, the pervasiveness of CSAM on this website, as well as any business practices used to shield such content from scrutiny, must be investigated.
Based on the concerns outlined in this letter, we request that the Department of Justice utilize its authority and resources to conduct a robust investigation into OnlyFans focused on:
1. The prevalence of CSAM on OnlyFans, and what measures, or lack thereof, OnlyFans employs to prevent, reduce, and respond to CSAM on its platform.
2. The prevalence of missing or abducted children linked to content on OnlyFans, and the measures, or lack thereof, OnlyFans employs to report such instances to law enforcement.
3. The use of direct messaging on OnlyFans to solicit prostitution, and the extent to which minors are solicited for prostitution or other services related to sexual activity.
We appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.